Prosecutors in Tokyo said Tuesday they’re charging three former top executives of a local company for alleged bribery involving railway projects in Vietnam that received Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The three officials from Japan Transport Consulting Corporation (JTC) include former chairman Tamio Kakinuma, former CEO Tatsuro Wada, and former board member Koji Ikeda, Vietnamnet reported, quoting Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper.
The Tokyo prosecutor’s announcement said Wada and Ikeda gave a total of 69.9 million yen (over $690,000) in cash to a number of officials of the Vietnam Railways Corporation from December 2009 to February 2014.
Kakinuma has already been convicted of approving some of the bribes, the report said.
The scandal came to light in April 2013 after Tokyo tax authorities discovered unusual expenses related to JTC’s five ODA projects.
The company allegedly spent a total of 160 million yen ($1.5 million) for kickbacks for projects in Vietnam, Indonesia and Uzbekistan, according to the story.
In June, Japan said it would suspend ODA funds for Vietnam while it waits for the results of an investigation into the bribery allegations.
Japan, Vietnam’s largest ODA donor, temporarily suspended aid to Vietnam because of an earlier graft case.
In January 2009, three Japanese executives and their company were convicted of paying $820,000 to a senior Vietnam government official to secure contracts for road projects backed by Japanese aid money. The recipient of the bribes was Huynh Ngoc Sy, a former deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Transport.
Under Japanese law, bribery in cash or benefits to foreign officials carries a prison sentence of up to five years and fine of up to 5 million yen ($49,000).
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.